Results tagged ‘ John Farrell ’

Victorino bats sixth in Game 6

With a chance to win the World Series in Wednesday night’s Game 6, right fielder Shane Victorino returned to Boston’s lineup after missing the previous two games with tightness in his lower back.

However, for the first time in this postseason, Victorino was dropped from his usual No. 2 spot in the batting order and instead batted sixth.

Victorino came into the night 0-for-10 in the World Series. Since the start of the American League Championship Series, he is 3-for-34, though one of those hits was the game-breaking grand slam in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series which helped the Red Sox win the AL pennant.

Manager John Farrell said that the overriding factor in moving Victorino down was that he liked the look of his Game 5 lineup, when Dustin Pedroia batted second and the red-hot David Ortiz hit third.

“In talking with Vic about this yesterday, he was understanding of it,” said Farrell. “He’s hit in the five-hole quite a bit, particularly against right-handed starters when he was hitting left-handed. I gave him my reasons for it, for what we mentioned as well as to keep the other two guys at the top of the order.”

Victorino was just happy to be able to return to the mix in Game 6. He probably could have played Game 5, but he agreed with Farrell to play it safe.

“I feel a lot better,” Victorino said. “Progressively, I’ve gotten better every day.”

A first: Middlebrooks playing second

SAN FRANCISCO — Prior to the bottom of the seventh inning in Wednesday’s game against the Giants, Red Sox manager John Farrell raised two fingers to Will Middlebrooks. Poor Middlebrooks. He had no idea what his manager meant by the signal.

How could he? Middlebrooks had never played second base in his life. Not in LIttle League, not in high school, not in the Minors and certainly not n the Majors.

But with the latest roster shuffle leaving the Red Sox without a backup second baseman, Middlebrooks has now inherited that role. Farrell decided to give him a trial by fire in Wednesday’s game with the Red Sox holding a double-digit lead.

Middlebrooks did not disappoint, turning the middle of a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the seventh.

On the same day Middlebrooks hit a two-run homer earlier in the game, he had no problem identifying his highlight of the game.

“Probably turning the DP,: Middlebrooks said. “That was a lot of fun. That was out of nowhere, I wasn’t expecting it, that was a lot of fun.”

Farrell took a leap of faith thinking Middlebrooks could be comfortable at second just by judging how he looked when the Red Sox overshift on left-handed batters. That doesn’t mean Middlebrooks has had much time to work on second base since his return to Boston a couple of weeks ago.

“Not much. I haven’t worked on it. I haven’t turned a play up the middle since I was 18 in Texarkana, Texas, so it’s been awhile.’’

It was a funny moment when Farrell told Middlebrooks he was switching from third to second late in the game.

“I thought I misunderstood him,” Middlebrooks said. “He looked at me and [held up two fingers]. I had just grounded out. He gave me ‘this’ and I didn’t know what he was talking about. I had to run up and get a different glove. I have a smaller one.”

Middlerooks agrees with Farrell’s reasoning that the shift coverage helped him prepare a little for the unfamiliar responsibility.

“Yeah, absolutely, that way I can at least see the angle of the balls and how the ball comes off the bat. It really wasn’t that big of a difference, it wasn’t a big deal,” said Middlebrooks.

So Middlebrooks really never played second before Wednesday?

“No, never, never, never. Shortstop my whole life then I played third my first year in pro ball.,” Middlebrooks said.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia doesn’t require much time off. Middlebrooks will be the insurance option at second until Sept. 1, when rosters are expanded. With the Red Sox having multiple off-days before then, Pedroia probably won’t need to come out of the starting lineup, barring an injury.

And the way Middlebrooks has been swinging the bat, the Red Sox want to keep him right where he is — at the hot corner.

Napoli dropped to seventh in lineup

It was just a few days ago that Mike Napoli was dropped from fifth to sixth in manager John Farrell’s lineup. With his slump showing no signs of lifting, Napoli moved down again for Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays — this time to the No. 7 hole for the first time this season.

Napoli has just five hits in 37 at-bats in August, with no homers and three RBIs.

For the season, he has 158 strikeouts in 460 plate appearances.

The news of Napoli’s move down in the batting order was announced by Farrell in his weekly radio segment with WEEI on Wednesday.

Buchholz gets clean bill of health from Andrews

Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz got just the piece of encouraging news he was looking for when he visited with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. on Monday.

There is nothing significantly wrong with Buchholz’s right shoulder or neck. The pain he feels when he tries to throw off the mound is normal considering the time he is missed.

Andrews had basically the same diagnosis as the Red Sox’s medical staff. Instead, he is just recovering from inflammation.

Now that Buchholz has heard that news from two different sources, he should have more self assurance in the final phases of his rehab.

“Most importantly, Clay comes back with a little more peace of mind, and he’ll continue on the throwing program that’s been already put in place,” said Red Sox manager Jon Farrell. “He’s coming off a good day of throwing yesterday — out to 100 feet with greater intensity. He’s traveling back here tonight, so he’ll be at the park tomorrow.”

Buchholz last pitched for the Red Sox on June 8, running his record to 9-0 in 12 starts.

Farrell estimated that Buchholz will need to throw three bullpen sessions and a simulated game in front of the Red Sox before he leaves for a Minor League rehab assignment.

“He’s got more of an understanding of what he’s experienced in the progression of the throwing that he’s done to date since being put on the DL,” Farrell said. “That assurance that the discomfort he’s feeling is not injury-related, it’s more about getting back into game shape, so I would think there would be more readiness on his part to push through that.”

Iglesias could be sticking around

When Will Middlebrooks returns to the active roster in one week against the Angels, don’t be so sure Jose Iglesias will be heading back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Don’t forget, Iglesias had been getting some work at third and second base for Pawtucket even before the back injury to Middlebrooks.

Pedro Ciriaco hasn’t performed well in a utility role on offense or defense, and Iglesias is at the point in his development where he might benefit more from staying in the Majors — even in a bench role — than playing every day at Pawtucket.

“We haven’t ruled out that he would remain here in a utility role,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “So, he’s been exposed more to third than he has been to second. Obviously, we’re more than comfortable with him at shortstop. At some point, if we’re to strongly and surely consider him for a utility role, then he’s got to get some exposure to second base. The one thing we’re cautious of is just the pivot on the double play. I don’t know how you can emulate that in early work or in simulated-type situations, but I think most importantly, we haven’t ruled out him being in a utility role.”

Tazawa to close for now; Webster will start Wednesday

Lots of moving parts at Fenway Park here on Tuesday. Joel Hanrahan has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain. With Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey on the disabled list at the same time, Junichi Tazawa assumes the closer’s role for now.

Meanwhile, in another wrinkle, prospect Allen Webster has replaced Hanrahan on the roster and will start tomorrow night, with the struggling Felix Doubront spending the next two days in the bullpen.

Manager John Farrell said that his plan for now is to slot Doubront back into the rotation the next time around.

Iglesias to start Home Opener

Jose Iglesias will get the thrill of playing in Monday’s home opener, as Stephen Drew will need an extra day at Double-A Portland thanks to a postponement on Saturday.

Drew, who sustained a concussion on March 7, will make his debut for the Red Sox on Wednesday.

“I think just talking with him late yesterday afternoon, he felt an additional eight to 10 at-bats would be helpful,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He’s starting to feel much more comfortable but he felt like two additional games, to go nine innings each day, would put him in a better position to return to us.”

Meanwhile, Iglesias was back in the lineup on Sunday after missing Saturday’s game with a bruised right forearm.

“Yeah, and even yesterday, he was available yesterday but we had planned a down day for him, day game after the night game, just trying to balance guys’ not being accustomed to the turf here, which is the same reason Napoli is DH-ing today with Daniel at first. Jose is fully ready to go,” said Farrell.

Red Sox could be close to full Starting 9

David Ortiz will be on a plane to Florida on Thursday to continue his rehab there, and could be playing in extended Spring Training games by the beginning of next week.

An official Minor League rehab assignment might not be too far behind. In fact, it’s starting to sound as if Ortiz could play for the Red Sox in April.

“In talking with David, I think he’d feel comfortable with 25, 30 at-bats, likely to be taken place at Pawtucket,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “When that rehab assignment begins remains to be seen. We’re still hopeful of a target timeframe of sometime middle to third week of April.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Drew played in an extended Spring Training for the second day in a row and will play at Double-A Portland tomorrow. Drew could play for Boston in the Fenway Park Opener on Monday.

Lester gets the nod for Opener

Jon Lester might have had a down year in 2012, but the Red Sox still view him as an ace. And that’s why the lefty will take the ball at Yankee Stadium on Monday for Opening Day.

After weeks of speculation, manager John Farrell finally made it official on Wednesday morning. Lester will be Boston’s first pitcher out of the gate for the third consecutive season.

The news was revealed just hours before Lester got ready to make his final start of Spring Training against the Miami Marlins.

“The way he was lined up, he was probably targeted all along,” said Farrell. “At the same time, we didn’t want that to be a focal point. His work that was needed and the adjustments that he’s continued to reinforce and repeat on the mound were the priorities. We felt like it was important to focus on the needs of Spring Training for every pitcher, including Jon, before we got into the rotation [order].”

In his first five starts of Grapefruit League action, Lester went 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA, looking a lot more like the pitcher who dominated in 2008-11 than the one who stumbled last year.

“He’s gotten back to a delivery that was similar to what he had in the past,” Farrell said. “I think he’s executing pitches with the consistency we saw before that made him one of the top left-handers in the game. He’s had a very strong Spring Training. “

Right-handers Clay Buchholz and Ryan Dempster will follow Lester in New York, pitching Wednesday and Thursday respectively. Left-hander Felix Doubront and righty John Lackey will round out the rotation, pitching the first two games in Toronto.

Buchholz is on tap to pitch the Home Opener on April 8 against the Orioles.

Lester was 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA in 33 starts in 2012.

“I didn’t really like what happened last year as far as me and the way I pitched,” Lester said earlier this spring. “That’s solely on me – that’s not on anyone else, that’s not on the revolving door of pitching coaches, that’s not on our manager, that’s not on anybody but myself. I want to prove that last year was a fluke and it’s not going to happen again.”

An Opening Day type of lineup

The Red Sox play the Phillies under the lights tonight in Fort Myers, and it’s a pretty good pitching matchup. John Lackey for the Sox, and Cole Hamels for Philly.

Look at the lineup manager John Farrell has posted for today, and it could be the same one you see on April 1 in New York.

Ellsbury CF

Victorino RF

Pedroia 2B

Napoli 1B

Middlebrooks 3B

Gomes LF

Saltalamacchia C

Nava DH

Iglesias SS

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 80 other followers